Bike Hub, the UK bicycle industry's levy fund, has developed an iPhone app that plans cycle journeys and locates nearest bike shops. The app uses mapping from OpenCycleMap and bike-specific routing from Cyclestreets.net.
While there are a great many existing bike-related apps which use maps to locate riders, the Bike Hub app is the first to act as a 'cycle satnav'. It has the ability to plan journeys on roads, cycle routes, and - critically – cut-throughs only known to clued-up locals.
Google Maps on the iPhone can plan car and pedestrian journeys but it can't, as yet, plan cycle journeys.
The app is available here on iTunes and works on iPhones and iPads. Most navigation apps of this complexity are upwards of £15 on iTunes but the Bike Hub app is free. The development was paid by the Bike Hub levy fund and is Bike Hub's first major public-facing project. The Bike Hub website is currently in soft-launch mode. BikeHub.co.uk is the successor to Bikeforall.net.
In iTunes, the Bike Hub app is said to find the "quickest or quietest cycle routes; and can locate nearest bike shops. This is NOT a sports app. It won’t link to your HRM with ANT+; tell you how many donuts you’ve burnt; or Twitter your cycle ride stats."
The app was designed to encourage new and hesitant cyclists to find cycle routes they would be comfortable with, but the app is also being promoted as ideal for cycle touring and for enthusiast cyclists finding themselves in new locales.
"Want a fast route to a railway station?" asks the app.
"Choose ‘Quickest route' and you’ll be directed via roads (although not dual carriageways or motorways). Don’t care to mingle with motorised traffic? Choose ‘Quietest route' and the app will use OpenCycleMap to guide you along back-streets and, where available and sensible, cycle routes. The 'Balanced route' provides a good mix between the two extremes of 'Fastest route' and 'Quietest route'. Don't like hills? The Bike Hub app avoids them as much as possible."
The app also features a toggle-on and toggle-off listing of London Cycle Hire stations.
Independent bicycle dealers will like the app because it directs customers to their doors. 2500+ bike shops around the UK are listed, thanks to database provision from the Association of Cycle Traders. Because Halfords is not a contributor to the UK Bike Hub levy scheme, Halfords stores are not listed in the app.
The Bike Hub app also has a news section, a cycling events calendar and longer features such as the official bike trade information on the Cycle to Work scheme; cycling and the law; and the best ever quotes about cycling.
The Bike Hub levy is operated by the Bicycle Association of GB and the Association of Cycle Traders.